Nuclear Energy’s Rebirth: Good Economics, Some Environmental Credentials, and Great Subsidies

Michael Giberson

It seems I may have left off a critical point in my comment on regulation and the apparent rebirth of nuclear power. Following the insightful commentary in Loren Steffy’s column in the Houston Chronicle, I highlighted that in many cases stockholders would assume the risks of cost overruns or poor performance, rather than retail ratepayers. According to this morning’s Washington Post, another factor is a significant subsidy, courtesy of the Energy Policy Act of 2005: “tax credits of up to $125 million for eight years, loan guarantees for up to 80 percent of a plant’s cost, shared application costs and insurance that would cover the costs of regulatory delay.”

Those benefits were “the whole reason we started down this path,” [NRG Energy’s David] Crane said after filing NRG Energy’s license application. “If it were not for the nuclear provisions in there, we would not have even started developing this plan two years ago.”


One thought on “Nuclear Energy’s Rebirth: Good Economics, Some Environmental Credentials, and Great Subsidies

  1. “insurance that would cover the costs of regulatory delay.”

    Wouldn’t it better to fix the regulatory process first?

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